Foreword by Paul Sivert…

The story you are about to read is real and it may seem familiar to many of you. Its familiarity may trigger your own awarenesses of pain, trauma, and a feeling of loss that we come to realize exists in our natural essence. In the shamanic healing traditions we call this wounding “soul loss”. The story is also about hope, faith, and tenacity.

The choice you make to actively engage yourself in a spiritual healing process can be like opening Pandora’s Box. You will be confronted by the wounds of your past and the shadows of your psychic. Needless to say many people get stuck in reinforcing their personal woundology and using it as an excuse not to heal. Caroline Myss, a medical intuitive, has stated, “The shadow side of healing is that we use wounds as a powerful way not to heal!”(Venture Inward, Sept/Oct ’98). Many people make choices to cling to their wound by staying in relationships that reinforce the wound, and by staying in situations. For example a job that supports you losing your power. Dr Myss has identified a revealing observation/belief – “your biography has become your biology. You have a right to happiness but you choose to remain wounded because we are afraid”. Our fears block us from claiming our happiness. I have seen people drop out from the spiritual healing process because they find the state of being wounded more familiar and comfortable than the unknown of wellness. I hope you don’t allow the biography of your wounds to become the biology of your dis-ease. You’re about to meet a woman who accepted that challenge and reclaimed her power. The story is alive with the power of emotion. She is a brave woman who has encountered her healing path.

Meet Anne Grey Liversidge.

This is the story of my life and the events that culminated in a profound spiritual experience. In a 32 year life span, I experienced more than a normal share of unhappiness and trauma: severe hearing loss (as a result of meningitis at 16 months), subsequent social isolation, the loss of my father due to parental divorce, emotional and sexual abuse, chronic family illnesses and mental health diagnoses of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which included one suicide attempt. But somehow I kept surviving. I’ve had at least three intuitive counselors tell me that if I had not had such a strong will, I might have died long ago.

I almost died from the meningitis, and believe I left my body and considered going to the next plane instead of staying and enduring a difficult life with my family. Later when I was nineteen, I attempted death again by cutting my wrists in the midst of severe depression.

However, as a “strong-willed” survivor, I engaged in interests and activities that supported my quest and willingness to continue living. I treasured nature, animals and art, enjoyed being creative and loved the company of friends and people I cared about. When I was older, I also discovered spirituality, vegetarianism, exercise and alternative healing methods to help me on my journey.

Despite my abilities as a survivor, I reached a point in my adult life where I felt blocked on a spiritual and emotional level. I sensed that in order to attain new spiritual wisdom and inner peace, I would have to deal with the intense suppressed emotions I harbored of anger, guilt and fear and face the ugly, dark, secret, scary parts of myself. There was a terrible resistance as a part of me did not want to face something I perceived as horrific in myself. The resistance manifested itself in occasionally dissociating when I was with people. It wasn’t really rational, and when you don’t understand something or can’t seem to control it, it can be quite unnerving. Sometimes I would sense that there was something blocking my eye, and later, when I had PTSD, my vision was not always the same in each eye, as if there was a split. I once even cried out of one eye.

Avoiding these emotions had become a way for me to cope, but at some point I knew they would have to be dealt with in order to move on. I suppose my soul knew when I was ready. Shortly before my PTSD episode that began Christmas of ’96, I prayed earnestly to the angels and God to help me release whatever was blocking my path to my higher self and purpose.

Christmas of ’96 was a horrendous family crisis, with one family member receiving shock treatment for depression while another family member accused me of not being loving and helpful while I was several hundred miles away in school full time. I adamantly protested this abuse, but felt obligated to be the caretaker again, a role I resentfully played none too often growing up, usually at my own emotional expense. It was then that my Pandora’s Box of emotions had been released. I felt rejected by my family and in my hurt I rejected them; my emotional boundaries were broached and my sense of trust and safety dispersed. I felt that I DID NOT WANT to be there, and so almost totally dissociated from my body. It did not help that at that time that I had been rummaging through childhood keepsakes that had been in storage for a decade, and felt paralyzed with memories from the past.

I died, then, in a way. Intuitive counselors later told me that a part of my soul broke off, and my spiritual energy field had been damaged. I was glad to hear from Paul Sivert after I met with him later, however, that the missing soul parts were being held in Mother Earth for safekeeping. I tried to hold onto any faith I had that I was still somehow alive and would find a way to move forward.

In a year-and-a-half’s time, I worked laboriously to rebuild my boundaries, my safety, my personality, my soul and my connections with people, but it took tremendous will. I had terrible fear, anxiety, anger and guilt, and felt unloved and unworthy. I had a difficult time communicating with people, and in fact, a lot of the resistance was manifested as soreness and blockage in my throat.

I spent a lot my time in my head and trying to figure out how to reconcile heart, body, mind and soul, but didn’t understand how to do this and felt very alone in my journey. During this time, I sought help from a number of alternative and spiritual therapies, such as angelic counseling, body-mind alignment therapy, acupuncture, prayer and meditation, and shamanism.

I felt drawn to shamanism because of my connection to nature and animals, and because during one prior intuitive reading, it was suggested that in a past life I used to be a native person like an Aborigine who used telepathy to communicate in a forest community that had a shared consciousness. Consequently, in this lifetime I had “accidentally” took on “toxic” stuff, which I was now trying to dump out. In addition, I was also learning how to reclaim a “pristine” telepathic communication method in this lifetime.

Paul Sivert, the shaman, helped me find out the status of the little girl or part of my soul that was lost. During this and other sessions he had me engage in several symbolic ceremonies. For instance, in one session, when I asked about the source of my depression, he said that there was a walnut-sized block in my heart, given to me by my mother, that told me that I was condemned. Paul helped remove the walnut and suggested that in my own ceremony, I plant a walnut to eradicate the hurtful block in my heart. I ended up “disposing” of the walnut and other symbolic items in the Maine woods.

Towards the end of the year-and-a half of my “Shaman’s Death”, as Paul called it, a few events led to the most intriguing part of this journey. During a healing with Paul, he and I together worked on releasing the depression from my heart and throat. We both envisioned a big, black green snake being removed from my throat. Shortly afterwards, I went to visit my father, who did some “reparenting” to help me heal some of the disappointments I had with my mother. Then I realized I had the strength to assess honestly my relationship with my lover. It was my decision to leave this relationship that lacked emotional intimacy, I couldn’t stay sick any longer. I was also starting a summer job with children. While I had been working towards giving up the resistance for a year and a half, all these recent events heightened my desire to overcome the resistance. I knew from the spiritual healings that I had participated in, my soul was prepared to relinquish the resistance that had become so familiar to me.

It happened at night. I surrendered to the resistance. Again it took pure will. I felt as if my soul was intact while there were pushes and pulls on my body. My higher self encouraged me during the changes. It was a pure being without any blocks, loving, laughing and singing. During the physical changes I experienced, I started to feel my body as if for the first time. I felt a ball of energy travel to my third eye. My ears popped, and I wondered if it was possible for me to hear again, as blocking my hearing communication were probably physical forms of resistance I used in the past.

Paul said afterward that I had met my higher self, and that there was an alignment in all parts of my being. He also noted that my energy field increased tremendously, and I was glowing. My happiness felt expressed on a soul level as love and contentment–there was almost no need to put it into words.

With a lot of emotional baggage released, I now sense that my loving higher self radiates more strongly out to others, communicating love in silence. There is still some resistance left at this point in time, but as I go through the motions of being fully human in this lifetime, I anticipate that I will be healed. This has been an incredible experience and I am proud of myself to know that I had asked to reach this level so I can more fully live.

By Anne Gray Liversidge